Is everything ok with your meal? Pasta, silent disappointment and the power of feedback in sales results.

by | Nov 30, 2020 | sales

Is everything ok with your meal? Pasta, silent disappointment and the power of feedback in sales results.

My first job was working in a restaurant. It was a brilliant experience almost 2 decades ago. I was 16 and I started working on the pot wash station. I’ve always been a quieter more humble type and the experience here really brought me out of my shell, talking much more with others and finding a love for the more social side of life. Helping others and making other people feel comfortable has always been an important part of my professional and personal life so it was a brilliant first experience in employment for me; working my way from pot washing, preparing food, running drinks and then out in to the world of waiting on tables.

There’s an important part of this stage in my career that has always stuck with me. My boss at the time, the head waitress at the time reminded me of the importance of making sure that each customer had the best possible experience whilst in our venue. I was charged with one simple task: For every table and every customer, within 5 minutes of the food getting placed in front of them, ask a simple question: is everything ok with your meal?

Fast forward 19 years…the silent detractor!

I was out with the Mrs for an Italian. We don’t get out much as we have the kids at home and getting babysitters can be tough, so when we do get to go out it is important to us that we have a nice time and go somewhere memorable. Our food was ok. To be honest it could have been better, and the staff had the chance to make it better. But herein lies the problem. The staff had the chance to make it better. And they didn’t take it.

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Had they asked the simple question is everything ok with your meal I would have had the chance to offer my feedback and allow them opportunity to make it better. I didn’t raise my hand, I didn’t shout and scream. We ate our meal and left without causing a stir.

Would I go back to the same place again?

Well, not in a hurry. Had they asked about our satisfaction, encouraged our feedback and taken the time to fix what wasn’t right, we would have left happier and more likely to recommend the place to others. But now we left with a silent mediocre feeling that certainly doesn’t warrant active referral to our friends, family and network.

If we are not asking for feedback and assume that everything is ok with the experience we are offering, the silence we encounter could indeed be the enemy of voiced concerns.

“Is everything ok with your meal?”

How often are we too fearful of what our customer might say that we don’t ask for their feedback?

The silent protestor can be the most damaging as you cannot attempt to make right your wrongs. Instead of creating a brand advocate you create a brand detractor.

I can’t ask that!

Push back on this topic is common. Why are we so hesitant when asking for feedback across our sales process but also once someone is our customer? We hear it a lot in our sales training and one to one wor;

  • I can’t ask that!’
  • ‘I’m grateful we got the order, it wouldn’t be right to ask again”
  • “I’m afraid they might leave me some bad feedback”.

All very common but curious that this attitude exists when actively seeking feedback about our service. Remember, in a world where we are putting the customer truly at the heart of our business, our sales success may well depend quite significantly on the opinion of our customer database and those who we tend to neglect in lieu of ‘new’ leads. Our customers and our relationships across the sales process are incredibly important for business success as we aim for a win-win and look to build long-lasting relationships.

Being grateful for the order is fantastic, we are all, of course, grateful to those who are our customers, but to assume that the customer isn’t waiting for you to ask for something else is quite short-sighted. As humans we thrive on feedback, we love giving feedback and we love being the connector into new relationships.

Connection is the experience of oneness. It’s having shared experiences, relatable feelings, or similar ideas.

Source: Medium, connection is a core human need.

Think about the last time someone asked you where best to go out for a meal this weekend. The best TV they could possibly buy? The person they should use for accounting services? Car provider? What to drink, what to wear, printers to use, web designers, photography, holidays and honeymoons?

I’m confident you could give me a quick and thorough rational answer to most of those questions. Why? Because we like to connect people with our own experiences and be the influencer to others’ experience.

We must get over the hesitance of not asking for feedback because we are fearful of the answer, or feel we cannot ask for it in the first place!

79% of our respondents from our straw poll suggest that they would be delighted to leave a review. A further 14% would want to but felt apprehensive about leaving opinion in the public domain.

Why then do most businesses not systematically and deliberately ask for the feedback?!

There is a clear disparity between what we feel we can do for others and what feel we can ask of others in our sales feedback activity.

The expected results of when you do ask that…

Don’t be too surprised when your existing customer base help you out by introducing you to their network.

Part of the Plan. Grow. Do. sales training talks about the influence, effectiveness and potential of your existing customer database. Think about your own buying habits and how much they are influenced by the opinion of others. Guess what? Your customers are looking at what other people say about you too, and if they currently aren’t encouraged to say anything at all, how will that reflect in the eyes of your potential customer?

Further reading to support your sales approach

Aim for Win-Win in your sales and marketing relationships.

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